Reviewer Spotlight: Calexico – Spoke

Originally published in Punk Planet May/June 2007 Knowing that this Tucson ensemble’s loyal following tend to break into fits of breathless poetry about desert horizons or sand-choked nights could lead the uninitiated to believe Joey Burns and John Convertino stepped fully formed out of some Arizona mirage one summer afternoon. Spoke, released before the incredible…

Reviewer Spotlight: The Melvins – Gluey Porch Treatments

Originally published in Punk Planet March/April 2007 I was, admittedly, in grade school in 1986 when Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Matt Lukin drove from Washington to California to record their first full-length record. By the time I did hear it, some five or six years later, the group was being courted by the majors…

Top 10 Records I Reviewed (Or Should Have Reviewed) In 2006

Originally published in Punk Planet January/February 2007 1. Clogs – Lantern An almost sublime offering from a quartet that blurs the line between classical composition and post-rock experimentalism without cranking out songs that feel over-cooked or over-analyzed. The hushed silences from the audience that watched them open up for Rachel’s in New York City in…

Reviewer Spotlight: The Jesus Lizard – Liar

Originally published in Punk Planet September/October 2006 The Jesus Lizard’s third full-length, released some 14 years ago, simply is without rival. A pummeling, explosive record, it’s one of those rare discs that connects those who’ve discovered it. We all remember the blood-curdling thrill of being ripped out of our seats by the jackhammer rumble of…

Reviewer Spotlight: Don Caballero – Don Caballero 2

Originally published in Punk Planet July/August 2006 Don Caballero – Don Caballero 2 Some musicians may stumble upon moments of inspiration — even flashes of genuine brilliance — during faux-improvisations in studio cocoons but few bands have mastered the art of making their most groundbreaking and choreographed songs sound as instinctive and downright effortless as…

Reviewer Spotlight: Cheer-Accident – Enduring The American Dream

Originally published in Punk Planet May/June 2006 Cheer-Accident – Enduring The American Dream If America ever needs a soundtrack to serve as its death knell, I vote for this obscure 1997 gem from Chicago’s ruling experimental collective. Funeral dirges collide with angular post-punk pressure-cookers. Noisy Minimalist drones wed somber piano ballads. Experimental prog refrains bleed…

Reviewer Spotlight: Pinetop Seven – Rigging The Toplights

Originally published in Punk Planet March/April 2006 Pinetop Seven – Rigging The Toplights For the better part of two years and change, I worked at my university’s underground radio station, and few records remind me of all those priceless nights and graveyard shifts spent in windowless Student Center bomb shelters like Pinetop Seven’s sophomore outing,…

Feature: Top 10 of 2005 (Delusions of Adequacy)

Top 10 of 2005 Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy 01. Slint – The Reunion (Bootlegs) The Louisville legend’s rebirth was the underground story of the year and the recordings that have surfaced from their long-anticipated reunion tour provide all the evidence for those who couldn’t witness it with their own eyes. Whether it’s documented…

Feature: Top 10 of 2004 (Delusions of Adequacy)

Top 10 of 2004 Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy 01. Tom Waits – Real Gone (Anti) What can you say? This eclectic mix of avant-garde jazz, dirgy blues, barn burners, tall tales, turntable-tinged sound experiments and heart-wrenching ballads could be one of Waits’ finest offerings in recent years. Real Gone is a reminder, not…

Feature: Top 10 of 2003 (Delusions of Adequacy)

Top 10 of 2003 Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy 01. Pinataland – Songs from the Forgotten Future Vol. 1 An enveloping and seamless collection of collage-conscious indie rock, modern Americana and Old World portraits, this 10-track gem is one of the most brilliant debuts in recent memory. An intelligent work of breathtaking scope that…